Welcome to the
Western Province Saddle
Horse Sub Union




– breeders, – trainers and – riders

Our History

Established in 1966

The American Saddlebred (known in South Africa as the Saddlehorse), was developed by early pioneers in the USA who desired a utility horse of many attributes. These included beauty, easy gait abilities, an excellent temperament and all combined with genuine quality and stamina. The results have spoken for itself. Since 1816 the American Saddlebred has been hailed in the USA as not only an extremely versatile breed but also – and this by its many admirers – as the ‘world’s most beautiful horse’.

In 1917 Claude Orpen imported South Africa’s very first American Saddlebred – a black stallion with the registered name of ‘Myer’s Kentucky Star’. This remarkable horse had to endure an 8000-mile sea voyage before landing in the country and it is surely more than fair to assert that Kentucky Star and Claude Orpen deserve to be acknowledged as the progenitors, and more, the Fathers of the American Saddlebred in South Africa.


Kentucky Star was soon followed by others of his breed, mostly stallions, and the long battle to officially acknowledge the breed commenced. The battle was finally won in 1949 when the SA Saddlehorse Breeders’ Society was founded. Looking back, it is easy to accept that our South African Saddlebred, as it has developed down the years, was engendered by those early events way back in 1917.

To help with the promotion and establishment of the breed in the Western Cape, the Southern Cape Saddlehorse Sub Union was founded in 1966. Naturally proud of its long heritage and American connections, the famous 5-gaited stallion and world champion ‘Wing Commander’ was registered as the logo and trademark of the Sub Union.

Shown and trained by Junior Hugo
Owner – Saai Pienaar

Shown and trained by Jacques Wiggins
Owner – Kobus van der Walt

On 1 February 1991, the Southern Cape Saddlehorse Sub Union amalgamated with the Western Province Amateur Saddlehorse Sub Union, taking over all its commitments and operations and consequently changing its name to the Western Province Saddlehorse Sub Union.

Today, the Western Province Saddlehorse Sub Union (WPSSU) remains affiliated with the Saddlebred Society of SA. Declared a spokesperson for the WPSSU: “Our purpose, is to promote and improve our breed. In that regard, it is of the utmost importance for us to ensure that all saddlers in the province are being taken proper care of on all levels.

“Our classic riding style, Saddleseat Equitation, is now an International equestrian sport and we are proudly promoting it with all our different role-players.

“Whilst we do establish new shows and continue to support our existing shows, our main focus will remain on all Saddlebred shows with regional or club show status. Since the founding of our Sub Union in 1966, the Robertson Spring Show has been the home of the WPSSU Championships. It is a proud tradition that we trust will continue to thrive in years to come. Shows provide a unique platform where we can show off our beautiful animals and introduce them to potential new markets.

The WPSSU spokesperson concluded, “Over the years, the WPSSU has regularly proven to be the most vibrant, and successful Sub Union in South Africa. Our horses, breeders, trainers and riders are deservedly well-known and highly respected, and we will continue working to remain a dominant force in Saddlebred circles.

Latest News

It is a privilege to report on our activities and to keep you informed on what is trending in Saddlebred circles.

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Our Sponsors

We are a nonprofitable organization, totally and only dependent on membership fees and sponsorships. We are grateful for, and want to thank our sponsors for their continued support.

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